The Penalty of Piety and its Promise
1 Corinthians 15:19
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

These words


1. Only the heavenly hope could compensate for the severity of their earthly experiences (2 Corinthians 6:11.). Speaking for himself, and having in view all of every kind that he was enduring for the sake of the gospel, he felt that all the peace and comfort which solaced other men's lives were absent from his own, and he concluded that without that grand compensation which was in store, he and they were the most to be pitied of all men.

2. In that case they were the victims of a miserable delusion. They were basing their whole life on a faith which was a falsehood; they were building everything on a rotten foundation; they were spending all their energies and surrendering all their opportunities to teach men that which their disciples were bound to disbelieve (ver. 14). They might well be pitied as the dupes of a dream.


1. That there are consequences attending unswerving faithfulness we must all be prepared to meet. Not now the lash or the dungeon. It may be the biting sarcasm or the polite irony, etc. But it must be that "all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

2. That delusion is always pitiable. Men may be buoyed up by false hopes, and it may seem at a superficial glance that the cherishing of the error is positively gainful. But it is always better to walk in the light than to wander in the darkness. They who give way to plausible but unsound doctrine are to be pitied, however fair in the face these doctrines may be, however excellent be the spirit and intention of those that hold them.

3. That genuine piety has within it sources of pure and lasting joy (1 Timothy 4:8; 1 Timothy 6:6); and if the "Manor Sorrows" could speak of "His joy" so may we.

(W. Clarkson, B.A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

WEB: If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.

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